Book Review: Rewired

I think a big part of compliance is education. It is great to get compliance imposed through internal systems, but you generally need to get the message out to your company about the policies, why they exist, and what they need to do.

There is lots of talk about the generation and age group starting to make their way into the workforce. They have group up with the internet, access to lots of information, and access to lots of communication tools. In Rewired, Dr. Larry Rosen tries to off insight into “understanding the igeneration and the way they learn.”

The publisher was nice enough to send me a free review copy. I was interested because the book was based on really studies and empirical data. I see too many rants about the changing learning habits of younger generations based on anecdotes and conjecture.

Dr. Rosen focuses on the what he calls the “igeneration” of children and teens in elementary school through high school. I also have young kids so I had a personal interest in the subject.

He emphasized that this generation is one that multitasks and has ample access to mobile communications. I grew up at the dawn of able television and video games. This generation is growing up with an amazing amount of connectivity and information access.

He has found that they are used to a “fast, shallow pace of information presentation” and get bored easily.

Some of points that Dr. Rosen makes seem off to me. He includes MySpace and Twitter as platforms that hold the attention of the igeneration. He talks about them gathering in Second Life.

Huh?!? I have not seen that to be true. Sure, they love to communicate. Just not these platforms. They text, and text, and text.

In looking at footnote 7 for the first chapter he discloses some of his methodology. In each study he used anonymous online surveys to interview their subjects. That the research was gathered online would seem to skew the data. You are automatically excluding those with no or limited access to the internet.

The igeneration hates school. Most kids hate school. We all hated school growing up. Students didn’t read the books. They read the Cliff Notes or online summaries. Again, that doesn’t sound like new behavior to me.

I think some of his conclusions are a bit off or obvious. Other hand, he does offer some insight and useful suggestions.

In dealing with multitasking, he attributes some of this as an attempt to make tedious work more fun. They are also trying to fill in the gaps and downtime.

I think he puts too much emphasis on 3D social networks. Personally, I think this may have more utility in distant learning than in school. One of the great things about school is that you have a large gathering of your peers in one place. Why communicate virtually when you are in close approximation.

He does have a few great examples of using virtual tours of other places like an art museum or Mayan cultural exhibit to create a more immersive learning environment. There are some great ideas in there. I’m not sure how that translates to other subjects.

It is clear that my kids are growing up in different learning environment with access to vast amounts of information. It is clear that new adults coming into the workforce have grown up in a very different information and communications environment. Dr. Rosen offers some insight and help in thinking about their learning needs. I think it’s just sometimes flawed.